1996 NBA Finals

The 1996 NBA Finals was the championship series of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1995–96 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. The Western Conference champion Seattle SuperSonics (64–18) played the Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls (72–10), with the Bulls holding home court advantage. The teams' 136 combined regular season wins shattered the previous record of 125, set in 1985 between the Los Angeles Lakers who won 62 games and the Boston Celtics who won 63 games in the past regular season. The series was played under a best-of-seven format. This was the first championship in the Chicago Bulls second three-peat.[1]

Chicago won the series 4 games to 2. Michael Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP.

NBC Sports used Ahmad Rashād (Bulls sideline) and Hannah Storm (SuperSonics sideline).

Hal Douglas narrated the season-ending documentary Unstoppabulls for NBA Entertainment.

This was the 50th NBA Finals played.

1996 NBA Finals
1996nbafinals
TeamCoachWins
Chicago Bulls Phil Jackson 4
Seattle SuperSonics George Karl 2
DatesJune 5–16
MVPMichael Jordan
(Chicago Bulls)
Hall of FamersBulls:
Michael Jordan (2009)
Scottie Pippen (2010)
Dennis Rodman (2011)
SuperSonics:
Gary Payton (2013)
Coaches:
Phil Jackson (2007)
Tex Winter (2011)
Officials:
Dick Bavetta (2015)
Eastern FinalsBulls defeat Magic, 4–0
Western FinalsSuperSonics defeat Jazz, 4–3

Background

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls were coming off a season in which Michael Jordan returned from an 18-month suspension, only to lose in the second round of the playoffs to the Orlando Magic. Heading into the upcoming season, Chicago was no longer the same team as they were in their most recent championship season of 1993, having lost key members of their first three-peat core in John Paxson who retired, while Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, B. J. Armstrong, Stacey King, Will Perdue, and Scott Williams left via free agency.

In their place was a new core of players such as Luc Longley, Toni Kukoč, Steve Kerr, Ron Harper, Jud Buechler, Bill Wennington and Randy Brown. But perhaps their biggest addition to the team was Dennis Rodman, a nine-year veteran who had been a rebounding champion for four straight years, and whose controversial lifestyle has been well-documented.

The end result of this ensemble was perhaps the greatest regular season of any team in NBA history at the time, as the Bulls won a then-record 72 games. They continued to gain momentum in the playoffs, beginning with a sweep of the Miami Heat in the first round, followed by a five-game defeat of the New York Knicks in the second round. The conference finals was a rematch of the previous season's series with the Orlando Magic, but it was a no-contest, as the Bulls swept the Magic to gain entry into the Finals.

Seattle SuperSonics

The SuperSonics were led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, with George Karl as head coach. The team was considered a perennial title contender throughout the mid-1990s, but the closest they came to reaching the finals was in 1993, when they lost to the Phoenix Suns in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.

Two straight first-round exits followed, including the stunning 1994 loss to the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets. Motivated by a successive string of early playoff losses, Seattle finished the 1996 regular season with a franchise-record 64 wins.

Seattle began its playoff run with a four-game win over the Sacramento Kings, followed by a sweep of the defending champion Houston Rockets. They then beat the Utah Jazz in seven games in the western finals to advance to its first NBA championship round since 1979.

Road to the Finals

Seattle SuperSonics (Western Conference champion) Chicago Bulls (Eastern Conference champion)
Western Conference
# Team W L PCT GB GP
1 c-Seattle SuperSonics * 64 18 .780 82
2 y-San Antonio Spurs * 59 23 .720 5 82
3 x-Utah Jazz 55 27 .671 9 82
4 x-Los Angeles Lakers 53 29 .646 11 82
5 x-Houston Rockets 48 34 .585 16 82
6 x-Portland Trail Blazers 44 38 .537 20 82
7 x-Phoenix Suns 41 41 .500 23 82
8 x-Sacramento Kings 39 43 .476 25 82
9 Golden State Warriors 36 46 .439 28 82
10 Denver Nuggets 35 47 .427 29 82
11 Los Angeles Clippers 29 53 .354 35 82
12 Minnesota Timberwolves 26 56 .317 38 82
13 Dallas Mavericks 26 56 .317 38 82
14 Vancouver Grizzlies 15 67 .183 49 82

1st seed in the West, 2nd best league record

Regular season
Eastern Conference
# Team W L PCT GB GP
1 z-Chicago Bulls * 72 10 .878 82
2 y-Orlando Magic * 60 22 .732 12.0 82
3 x-Indiana Pacers 52 30 .634 20.0 82
4 x-Cleveland Cavaliers 51 31 .622 21.0 82
5 x-New York Knicks 47 35 .573 25.0 82
6 x-Atlanta Hawks 46 36 .561 26.0 82
7 x-Detroit Pistons 46 36 .561 26.0 82
8 x-Miami Heat 42 40 .512 30.0 82
9 Charlotte Hornets 41 41 .500 31.0 82
10 Washington Bullets 39 43 .476 33.0 82
11 Boston Celtics 33 49 .402 39.0 82
12 New Jersey Nets 30 52 .366 42.0 82
13 Milwaukee Bucks 25 57 .305 47.0 82
14 Toronto Raptors 21 61 .256 51.0 82
15 Philadelphia 76ers 18 64 .220 54.0 82
1st seed in the East, best league record
Defeated the (8) Sacramento Kings, 3–1 First Round Defeated the (8) Miami Heat, 3–0
Defeated the (5) Houston Rockets, 4–0 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (5) New York Knicks, 4–1
Defeated the (3) Utah Jazz, 4–3 Conference Finals Defeated the (2) Orlando Magic, 4–0

Regular season series

Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the home team (Which was one of the ten Bulls losses of the season):

November 26, 1995
Chicago Bulls 92, Seattle SuperSonics 97
January 10, 1996
Seattle SuperSonics 87, Chicago Bulls 113

1996 NBA Finals rosters

Chicago Bulls

1995–96 Chicago Bulls roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
G 0 Brown, Randy 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1968–05–22 New Mexico State
G/F 30 Buechler, Jud 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1968–06–19 Arizona
F 35 Caffey, Jason 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 255 lb (116 kg) 1973–06–12 Alabama
C 53 Edwards, James 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1955–11–22 Washington
F 54 Haley, Jack 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1964–01–27 UCLA
G 9 Harper, Ron 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1964–01–20 Miami (OH)
G 23 Jordan, Michael (C) 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1963–02–17 North Carolina
G 25 Kerr, Steve 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1965–09–27 Arizona
G/F 7 Kukoc, Toni 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1968–09–18 Croatia
C 13 Longley, Luc 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) 265 lb (120 kg) 1969–01–19 New Mexico
G/F 33 Pippen, Scottie (C) 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 218 lb (99 kg) 1965–09–25 Central Arkansas
F 91 Rodman, Dennis 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1961–05–13 SE Oklahoma State
F 22 Salley, John 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1964–05–16 Georgia Tech
F 8 Simpkins, Dickey 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 248 lb (112 kg) 1972–04–06 Providence
C 34 Wennington, Bill 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 245 lb (111 kg) 1963–04–26 St. John's
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Seattle SuperSonics

1995–96 Seattle SuperSonics roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
G/F 2 Askew, Vincent 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1966–02–28 Memphis
F/C 34 Brickowski, Frank 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 240 lb (109 kg) 1959–08–14 Penn State
F 1 Ford, Sherell 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1972–08–26 Illinois
G 33 Hawkins, Hersey 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1966–09–29 Bradley
C 50 Johnson, Ervin 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 245 lb (111 kg) 1967–12–21 New Orleans
F/C 40 Kemp, Shawn 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1969–11–26 Trinity Valley CC
G/F 10 McMillan, Nate 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1964–08–03 North Carolina State
G 20 Payton, Gary 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1968–07–23 Oregon State
F/C 14 Perkins, Sam 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1961–06–14 North Carolina
F/C 55 Scheffler, Steve 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 250 lb (113 kg) 1967–09–03 Purdue
F/C 11 Schrempf, Detlef 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 214 lb (97 kg) 1963–01–21 Washington
G 3 Snow, Eric 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1973–04–04 Michigan State
G/F 25 Wingate, David 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1963–12–15 Georgetown
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Series summary

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 Wednesday, June 5 Chicago Bulls 107–90 (1–0) Seattle SuperSonics
Game 2 Friday, June 7 Chicago Bulls 92–88 (2–0) Seattle SuperSonics
Game 3 Sunday, June 9 Seattle SuperSonics 86–108 (0–3) Chicago Bulls
Game 4 Wednesday, June 12 Seattle SuperSonics 107–86 (1–3) Chicago Bulls
Game 5 Friday, June 14 Seattle SuperSonics 89–78 (2–3) Chicago Bulls
Game 6 Sunday, June 16 Chicago Bulls 87–75 (4–2) Seattle SuperSonics
All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (UTC−4).

Game 1

June 5
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Seattle SuperSonics 90, Chicago Bulls 107
Scoring by quarter: 18–24, 30–29, 29–26, 13–28
Pts: Shawn Kemp 32
Rebs: Gary Payton 10
Asts: Gary Payton 6
Pts: Michael Jordan 28
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 13
Asts: Ron Harper 7
Chicago leads the series, 1–0
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 24,544
Referees:
  • No. 43 Danny Crawford
  • No. 17 Joey Crawford
  • No. 15 Bennett Salvatore

Although Chicago was not playing well offensively, they were able to compensate with superb defense. Chicago was leading only by 2 at the end of the third quarter, however in the final quarter shots by Toni Kukoč and 2 key steals by Ron Harper clinched the Bulls a win.

Game 2

June 7
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Seattle SuperSonics 88, Chicago Bulls 92
Scoring by quarter: 27–23, 18–23, 20–30, 23–16
Pts: Shawn Kemp 29
Rebs: Shawn Kemp 13
Asts: Payton, Schrempf 3 each
Pts: Michael Jordan 29
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 20
Asts: Michael Jordan 8
Chicago leads the series, 2–0
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 24,544
Referees:
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush

Game two started well for Seattle with a 27–23 first quarter lead. However Seattle would once again lose the lead before halftime. Despite Shawn Kemp's 29 points and 13 rebounds, Chicago triumphed with a final score of 92 to 88. In the victory, Dennis Rodman tied an NBA Finals record with 11 offensive rebounds.

Game 3

June 9
7:30 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Chicago Bulls 108, Seattle SuperSonics 86
Scoring by quarter: 34–16, 28–22, 13–23, 33–25
Pts: Michael Jordan 36
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 10
Asts: Scottie Pippen 9
Pts: Detlef Schrempf 20
Rebs: Brickowski, Payton 7 each
Asts: Gary Payton 9
Chicago leads the series, 3–0
KeyArena, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 17,072
Referees:
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 29 Steve Javie

The Sonics suffered a 22-point blow-out on their return to Seattle, giving the Chicago Bulls a seemingly insurmountable 3–0 series lead.

Game 4

June 12
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Chicago Bulls 86, Seattle SuperSonics 107
Scoring by quarter: 21–25, 11–28, 31–31, 23–23
Pts: Michael Jordan 23
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 14
Asts: Scottie Pippen 8
Pts: Shawn Kemp 25
Rebs: Shawn Kemp 11
Asts: Gary Payton 11
Chicago leads the series, 3–1
KeyArena, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 17,072
Referees:
  • No. 17 Joey Crawford
  • No. 13 Mike Mathis
  • No. 21 Bill Oakes

Seattle did not want to suffer the ignominy of a sweep. Going into this game, the SuperSonics were looking to rebound from the deficit. They temporarily succeeded with a 107–86 win over the Bulls. The series would now go to five games. The Sonics were helped by the return of team captain Nate McMillan whose presence entering the game brought the KeyArena crowd to its feet.

Game 5

June 14
9:00 et
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Chicago Bulls 78, Seattle SuperSonics 89
Scoring by quarter: 18–18, 24–25, 18–19, 18–27
Pts: Michael Jordan 26
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 12
Asts: Scottie Pippen 5
Pts: Gary Payton 23
Rebs: Shawn Kemp 10
Asts: Gary Payton 6
Chicago leads the series, 3–2
KeyArena, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 17,072
Referees:
  • No. 42 Hue Hollins
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush

Seattle would once again deny the Bulls the championship, stretching the series to six games. Payton had this to say: "We feel great. We knew we could play with this team. It just took too long. We should have come with this a little earlier."[2] Shawn Kemp's performance in this game was considered by many to be his best in a Seattle uniform.

Game 6

June 16
7:30 pm
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived October 27, 1996)
Seattle SuperSonics 75, Chicago Bulls 87
Scoring by quarter: 18–24, 20–21, 20–22, 17–20
Pts: Detlef Schrempf 23
Rebs: Shawn Kemp 14
Asts: Gary Payton 7
Pts: Michael Jordan 22
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 19
Asts: Michael Jordan 7
Chicago wins the series, 4–2
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 24,544
Referees:
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 29 Steve Javie

Chicago won the series 4 games to 2 on Father's Day. The victory was partly due to the stellar performance of the Bulls power forward Dennis Rodman, who repeated his Game 2 performance of 11 offensive rebounds, tying his own NBA Finals record.

Player statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
Chicago Bulls
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Randy Brown 6 0 8.2 .500 .500 .500 0.3 0.9 0.7 0.0 2.8
Jud Buechler 6 0 5.6 .222 .000 .000 0.0 0.2 0.7 0.0 0.7
Ron Harper 6 4 19.3 .375 .308 .917 2.3 1.7 0.7 0.3 6.5
Michael Jordan 6 6 42.0 .415 .316 .836 5.3 4.2 1.7 0.2 27.3
Steve Kerr 6 0 18.8 .303 .182 .857 0.9 0.8 0.2 0.0 5.0
Toni Kukoč 6 2 29.5 .423 .313 .800 4.8 3.5 0.8 0.3 13.0
Luc Longley 6 6 28.3 .574 .000 .727 3.8 2.2 0.6 1.8 11.7
Scottie Pippen 6 6 41.3 .343 .231 .708 8.2 5.3 2.3 1.3 15.7
Dennis Rodman 6 6 37.5 .486 .000 .579 14.7 2.5 0.8 0.2 7.5
John Salley 5 0 3.0 .000 .000 .000 0.2 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0
Bill Wennington 6 0 7.0 .667 .000 .500 0.5 0.2 0.0 0.0 2.9
Seattle SuperSonics
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Vincent Askew 4 0 15.5 .222 .200 1.000 2.5 0.5 0.5 0.0 1.8
Frank Brickowski 6 3 11.3 .222 .200 .000 2.0 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.8
Hersey Hawkins 6 6 38.3 .455 .273 .923 3.5 1.0 1.2 0.2 13.3
Ervin Johnson 3 3 6.7 .333 .000 .000 2.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 1.3
Shawn Kemp 6 6 40.3 .551 .000 .857 10.0 2.2 1.3 2.0 23.3
Nate McMillan 4 0 12.8 .429 .600 1.000 2.8 1.5 0.5 0.0 2.8
Gary Payton 6 6 45.7 .444 .333 .731 6.3 7.0 1.5 0.0 18.0
Sam Perkins 6 0 31.7 .377 .235 .810 4.7 2.0 0.5 0.0 11.2
Steve Scheffler 4 0 2.0 .000 .000 .000 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Detlef Schrempf 6 6 39.7 .443 .389 .875 5.0 2.5 0.5 0.2 16.3
Eric Snow 6 0 1.5 .000 .000 .000 0.3 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0
David Wingate 6 0 8.0 .500 .500 1.000 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.5

Aftermath

The 1996 NBA Finals would be the last Finals appearance of the Seattle SuperSonics. The Sonics would win the Pacific Division again in 1997 and 1998, but fell to the second round of the playoffs each time. The series was George Karl's only Finals appearance in his coaching career to date. In 2008, the Sonics franchise moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. They would make the finals four years later after the move.

This was also the last time a Seattle-based team played for a major professional sports championship until Super Bowl XL in 2006, when the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Seahawks would go on to handily defeat Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014 and lose to the New England Patriots the following year in Super Bowl XLIX. In terms of overall sports leagues, the city would later enjoy four championships when the WNBA's Seattle Storm, a one-time SuperSonics sister team, won the 2004, the 2010 and the 2018 WNBA Finals, and the MLS's Seattle Sounders FC won the 2016 MLS Cup.

The Bulls came close to winning 70 games for the second straight year, instead settling for a 69-win campaign in 1997. They won their second straight title over the Utah Jazz in six games of the 1997 NBA Finals. In the off-season that preceded Scottie Pippen became the first person to win NBA championship and Olympic gold medal in the same year twice, playing for Team USA at the Atlanta Olympics.[3] The Bulls would also defeat the Utah Jazz in six games in the 1998 NBA Finals.

The Bulls' combined 87 wins in the regular season and postseason would stand as an NBA record until the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, coached by former Bull Steve Kerr, broke it with 88 total wins (thanks to the first round using a best-of-7 format instead of the best-of-5 in 1996), including a 73-9 regular season mark. However, the Warriors lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals, failing to repeat as champions after beating the same Cavaliers in the previous Finals. The Warriors (with the addition of Kevin Durant, who had played for the Sonics in their final season in Seattle and for the Thunder until he became a free agent in 2016) and Cavaliers met for the third consecutive time in the 2017 NBA Finals, which the Warriors won in five games.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ http://www.nba.com/history/bulls_dynasty.html
  2. ^ http://www.nba.com/history/finals/19951996.html
  3. ^ Smith, Sam (August 4, 1996). "DREAM TEAM'S SLEEPWALK ENDS WITH GOLD MEDAL". Chicago Tribune. p. 1.

External links

1995–96 Chicago Bulls season

The 1995–96 NBA season was the Bulls' 30th season in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Bulls acquired rebound-specialist Dennis Rodman from the San Antonio Spurs, and signed free agent Randy Brown. Midway through the season, the team signed John Salley, who was released by the expansion Toronto Raptors. Salley won championships with the Detroit Pistons along with Rodman in 1989 and 1990. This season saw the Bulls set the record for most wins in an NBA regular season in which they won the championship, finishing with 72 wins and 10 losses. The regular season record was broken by the 2015–16 Golden State Warriors, who finished 73–9. Those Warriors have a connection to this Bulls team, as Steve Kerr, the current Golden State coach, was a reserve point guard with the Bulls. This team is regarded by many to be the greatest basketball team ever assembled in NBA history.

The Bulls' started 37–0 at home, part of a then-NBA-record 44-game winning streak that included games from the 1994–95 regular-season. Their 33 road wins were the most in NBA history until the 2015–16 Warriors won 34 road games. The season was the best 3-loss start in NBA history at 41–3 (.932), which included an 18-game winning streak for the team. The Bulls became the first NBA team to ever win 70 regular season games, finishing first overall in their division, conference, and the entire NBA. They are also the only team in NBA history to win more than 70 games and an NBA title in the same season. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were both selected for the 1996 NBA All-Star Game, as Jordan led the league in scoring with 30.4 points per game, while Phil Jackson was named Coach of The Year, and was selected to coach the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game.

The Bulls swept the Miami Heat 3–0 in the first round of the playoffs, defeated the New York Knicks 4–1 in five games of the semifinals, then swept the Orlando Magic 4–0 in the Conference Finals. They then defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 4–2 in the 1996 NBA Finals, winning their fourth NBA title in six seasons. The Bulls have the best combined regular and postseason record in NBA history at 87–13 (.870). For the season, the Bulls added black pinstripe alternate road uniforms. Eventually, they would remove the pinstripes from the jerseys the following season.

1996 in basketball

The following are the basketball events of the year 1996 throughout the world.

1996–97 Chicago Bulls season

The 1996–97 NBA season was the Bulls' 31st season in the National Basketball Association. The Bulls entered the season as defending NBA champions, having defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1996 NBA Finals in six games, winning their fourth NBA championship. During the offseason, the Bulls signed free agent Robert Parish, who won championships with the Boston Celtics in the 1980s. The Bulls, on the backs of recording another first-place finish in their division and conference, repeated as NBA champions. The Bulls were led by Michael Jordan, perennial All-Star small forward Scottie Pippen, and rebound ace Dennis Rodman, with the former two (Jordan and Pippen) both being selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game. Other notable players on the club's roster that year were clutch-specialist Croatian Toni Kukoč, and sharp-shooting point guard Steve Kerr.

The Bulls got off to a fast start winning their first twelve games, while posting a 42–6 record before the All-Star break. During the final month of the regular season, the team signed free agent Brian Williams, who played in the final nine games. Though, the Bulls look to make history against the New York Knicks in their final regular season game of the year, Pippen missed a game-winning 3 and they finished with a 69–13 record, just missing out on becoming the first team in NBA history to have back-to-back 70 wins seasons. Jordan led the league in scoring once again averaging 29.6 points per game.

In the playoffs, the Bulls would sweep the Washington Bullets in three straight games in the first round. In the semifinals, they defeated the Atlanta Hawks in five games, despite losing Game 2 at the United Center 103–95. In the Eastern Conference Finals, they defeated the Miami Heat in five games to advance to the NBA Finals, where they defeated the Utah Jazz in six games for their fifth title in seven years. Following the season, Parish retired, and Williams signed as a free agent with the Detroit Pistons.

1996–97 Seattle SuperSonics season

The 1996–97 NBA season was the 29th season for the Seattle SuperSonics in the National Basketball Association. The SuperSonics entered the season as runner-ups in the 1996 NBA Finals, having lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games. During the offseason, the Sonics signed free agents Jim McIlvaine and Craig Ehlo, and later on signed Terry Cummings in January. Coming off their trip to the NBA Finals, the Sonics remained as one of the elite teams in the Western Conference posting an 11-game winning streak after losing two of their first three games. The team won their third Division title in four years with a 57–25 record, and entered the playoffs as the #2 seed in the Western Conference. Three members of the team, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf were all selected for the 1997 NBA All-Star Game.

In the first round of the playoffs, they defeated the 7th-seeded Phoenix Suns after trailing 2–1. In the semifinals, they faced the Houston Rockets, who had home court advantage in the series and defeated the Sonics in seven games. This season was Kemp's final season with the SuperSonics, as he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team trade the following year. Also following the season, Cummings signed with the Philadelphia 76ers and Ehlo retired.

1997 NBA Finals

The 1997 NBA Finals was the concluding series of the 1997 NBA playoffs that determined the champion of the 1996–97 NBA season. The Western Conference champion Utah Jazz took on the Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls for the title, with the Bulls holding home court advantage. The series were played under a best-of-seven format, with the first 2 games in Chicago, the next 3 games in Salt Lake City, and the last 2 games in Chicago.

The Bulls won the series 4 games to 2. For the fifth time in as many Finals appearances, Michael Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP.

The Bulls and Jazz won a combined 133 regular season games, second most in Finals history. Until 2016, the 1997 NBA Finals was the last to feature teams that won a total of at least 130 regular season games.

1998–99 Indiana Pacers season

The 1998–99 NBA season was the Pacers' 23rd season in the National Basketball Association, and 32nd season as a franchise. The Pacers entered the season as a heavy favorite, because Michael Jordan retired and other members of the Chicago Bulls were broken up by their management. During the offseason, the team signed free agent Sam Perkins, who played in the 1991 NBA Finals with the Los Angeles Lakers, and the 1996 NBA Finals with the Seattle SuperSonics. After a four-month lockout, the Pacers won the Central Division with a record of 33 wins and 17 losses. Reggie Miller led the team in scoring averaging 18.4 points per game.

In the playoffs, the Pacers swept the Milwaukee Bucks 3–0 in the first round, and the 6th-seeded Philadelphia 76ers 4–0 in the semifinals. The Pacers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive season, and the fourth time in six seasons. Once again, the Pacers were up against the New York Knicks. Despite being the 8th-seeded team in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks upset the Pacers in six games to reach the NBA Finals for the second time in six seasons. It was also the final season the Pacers played at Market Square Arena, moving to the Conseco Fieldhouse the following season. Also following the season, Antonio Davis was traded to the Toronto Raptors.

For the season, the Pacers added gold pinstripe alternate road uniforms which lasted until 2005.

2002–03 Chicago Bulls season

The 2002–03 NBA season was the Bulls' 37th season in the National Basketball Association. The Bulls finished sixth in the Central Division with a 30–52 record. They also posted a franchise worst road record of 3–38. (See 2002–03 Chicago Bulls season#Regular season)

2006 NBA Finals

The 2006 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2005–06 National Basketball Association season. The Miami Heat won the title in six games over the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the third team—after the 1969 Celtics and the 1977 Trail Blazers—to win a championship after trailing 0–2 in the series. Dwyane Wade of the Heat was named Most Valuable Player of the series.This series marked the first time since 1971 that the Finals featured two teams playing in their first NBA Finals series. It was the first occasion since 1978 that two teams who had never won an NBA Championship contested the NBA Finals. The two teams met again five years later in 2011, the second Finals appearance for both franchises, with the Mavericks winning the rematch over the Heat.

This was the second NBA Finals matchup of teams from Florida and Texas, after the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic contested the 1995 NBA Finals. Until the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals, it was the last Finals loss by a team from Texas (the Rockets lost in 1981 and 1986) against eight championships (five by the Spurs, two by the Rockets, and one by the Mavericks, who won a rematch of this Finals in 2011).

Chicago Bulls accomplishments and records

This page details the all-time statistics, records, and other achievements pertaining to the Chicago Bulls.

Dennis Rodman

Dennis Keith Rodman (born May 13, 1961) is an American retired professional basketball player who played for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was nicknamed "The Worm" and is famous for his fierce defensive and rebounding abilities.

Rodman played at the small forward position in his early years before becoming a power forward. He earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors seven times and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award twice. He also led the NBA in rebounds per game for a record seven consecutive years and won five NBA championships. His biography at NBA.com states that he is "arguably the best rebounding forward in NBA history". On April 1, 2011, the Pistons retired Rodman's No. 10 jersey, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later that year.Rodman experienced an unhappy childhood and was shy and introverted in his early years. After aborting a suicide attempt in 1993, he reinvented himself as a "bad boy" and became notorious for numerous controversial antics. He repeatedly dyed his hair in artificial colors, had many piercings and tattoos, and regularly disrupted games by clashing with opposing players and officials. He famously wore a wedding dress to promote his 1996 autobiography Bad As I Wanna Be. Rodman pursued a high-profile affair with singer Madonna and was briefly married to actress Carmen Electra. Rodman also attracted international attention for his visits to North Korea and his subsequent befriending of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2013.

In addition to being a retired professional basketball player, Rodman is a retired part-time professional wrestler and actor. He was a member of the nWo and fought alongside Hulk Hogan at two Bash at the Beach events. In professional wrestling, Rodman was the first ever winner of the Celebrity Championship Wrestling tournament. He had his own TV show, The Rodman World Tour, and had lead roles in the action films Double Team (1997) and Simon Sez (1999). Both films were critically panned, with the former earning Rodman a triple Razzie Award. He appeared in several reality TV series and was the winner of the $222,000 main prize of the 2004 edition of Celebrity Mole.

Elvin Hayes

Elvin Ernest Hayes (born November 17, 1945) is an American retired professional basketball player and radio analyst for his alma-mater Houston Cougars. He is a member of the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, and an inductee in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Frank Brickowski

Francis Anthony Brickowski (born August 14, 1959) is an American retired professional basketball player, formerly in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Gary Payton

Gary Dwayne Payton Sr. (born July 23, 1968) is an American retired professional basketball player. He started at the point guard position. He is best known for his 13-year tenure with the Seattle SuperSonics, and holds Seattle franchise records in points, assists, and steals. He also played with the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, the last with whom he won an NBA championship. He was nicknamed "The Glove" for his excellent defensive abilities. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8, 2013.Payton is widely considered one of the best point guards of all time and is the only point guard to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. He was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times, an NBA record he shares with Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant. He was also a nine-time NBA All-Star and a nine-time All-NBA Team member.

Considered the "NBA's reigning high scorer among point guards" in his prime, Payton is referred to as "probably as complete a guard as there ever was" by Basketball Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich.

List of NBA Finals broadcasters

The following is a list of the television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast NBA Finals games over the years.

Sam Perkins

Samuel Perkins (born June 14, 1961) is an American retired professional basketball player and executive. Perkins was a three-time college All-American, was a member of the 1982 national champion North Carolina Tar Heels, and won a gold medal with the 1984 United States men's Olympic basketball team. Perkins played professionally in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 17 seasons.

Squatch

Squatch (a derivation of Sasquatch) was the team mascot for the Seattle SuperSonics, a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise formerly based in Seattle, Washington. Between his 1993 debut and the team's relocation to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 2008, Squatch appeared at more than 175 events annually, and was with the organization during their run to the 1996 NBA Finals.In 2007, Chris Ballew of the rock band The Presidents of the United States of America wrote and performed a song about the mascot. That same year, Squatch attempted to set a world record with a jump of 30 feet on inline skates, over vehicles owned by NBA players Ray Allen and Robert Swift.The biography of the Edmonton Rush Lacrosse Club's yeti mascot, Slush, describes a history wherein the two characters grew up together in the Cascade Mountains. Squatch appeared during the Rush's inaugural game to "teach" Slush how to be a professional mascot.

Following the SuperSonics' move to Oklahoma City, the character was retired, and remains part of the intellectual property (name, colors, etc.) that the city of Seattle retained as part of the KeyArena lease settlement. The character's performer from 1999–2008 (Marc Taylor) remains under contract with the relocated team, currently performing as Rumble the Bison, the Thunder's mascot.

Steve Kerr

Stephen Douglas Kerr (born September 27, 1965) is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is the head coach of the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is an eight-time NBA champion, having won five titles as a player (three with the Chicago Bulls and two with the San Antonio Spurs) as well as three with the Warriors as a head coach. Kerr has the highest career three-point percentage (45.4%) in NBA history for any player with at least 250 three-pointers made. He also held the NBA record for highest three-point percentage in a season at 52.4% until the record was broken by Kyle Korver in 2010.

On June 2, 2007, the Phoenix Suns named Kerr the team's president of basketball operations and general manager. Kerr helped managing partner Robert Sarver buy the Suns in 2004 and became one of Sarver's trusted basketball advisors. Kerr announced his retirement from the Suns in June 2010. Afterwards, Kerr returned as a color commentator for NBA on TNT until 2014, when he pursued a career in coaching.

On May 14, 2014, the Golden State Warriors named Kerr the team's head coach. On April 4, 2015, with a win over the Dallas Mavericks, Kerr broke the NBA record for the most regular-season wins for a rookie coach. The Warriors went on to win the 2015 NBA Finals, making Kerr the first rookie coach to win a championship since Pat Riley in the 1982 NBA Finals. On April 13, 2016, the Warriors broke the record for the most wins in an NBA season, breaking a record previously held by Kerr's 1995–96 Chicago Bulls. The Warriors returned to the Finals for four straight years, losing in 2016, winning again in 2017 and 2018, and losing in 2019.

Steve Scheffler

Stephen Robert "Steve" Scheffler (born September 3, 1967) is a retired American professional basketball player who played in the NBA. He is left handed.

Supersonics (song)

"Supersonics" is a song by the alternative rock band The Presidents of the United States of America. The song was released as a promotional CD in order to coincide with the Seattle SuperSonics' appearance in the 1996 NBA Finals. The music for the song was the same as their earlier song "Supermodel," but with new lyrics to reflect the then-current stars of the team.

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